Archives / 2003 / October
  • New Resource Kit from Microsoft

    Still not enough free stuff for you tonight? How about one more?

    Microsoft released a free Visual Basic .NET Resource kit. And even if you are not a VB developer, it is worth a look. Among it's contents are free (yes, as in beer) copies of several big name .NET components:

    • ComponentOne Studio Enterprise
      A comprehensive collection of more than 30 high-quality WinForms and ASP.NET Web controls including grid components, reporting components, charting components, data components, user-interface components, and e-commerce components.
    • Dundas Chart For Windows Forms, Professional Edition
      Developed for rich-client .NET applications, this fully-managed charting control gives you all the features of a premium charting control. This functionality combined with incredible design-time support allows for the fast and easy creation of sensational looking charts that have the exact look and feel that you require.
    • Infragistics UltraWebNavigator and UltraWinTree Controls
      UltraWinTree delivers an advanced .NET tree control that surpasses the look and functionality of the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET TreeView control. UltraWebNavigator is the first tool to provide a simple, easy-to-use designer to create menu and tree hierarchies, making it possible for Web masters and non-programmers to build eye-popping navigation systems and outlines visually, without writing code.
    • Sax Software Corp Communications makes it easy to add scalable serial communications to all your .NET applications.

    When people ask why I develop for Windows, I always point to things like this. Microsoft real does bend over backwards to ensure developing applications for their platform is both easy and affordable.

  • Office System Developer Kit 2003

    For those of you interested in developing solutions for/with Office 2003, Microsoft is offering a free Developer Kit (shipping charges still apply).

    "Microsoft® Office System Developer Kit 2003 contains a vast collection of SDKs, white papers, code samples, demonstrations, case studies, and other useful resources to help developers immediately realize efficiency creating business productivity solutions. It is a valuable asset for both new and experienced Microsoft Office System Developers."

    Surf over to to pick one up.


  • Sexiest Mug In The Office

    I'm the proud new owner of this tasteful .NET Rocks! mug. Very cool. :-)

    Seriously, if you like the .NET Rocks! program then go show your support by picking up some merchandise. You can get a "make-your-coworkers-jealous" item and help keep these guys on the air at the same time.




  • Vault 2.0

    Eric Sink announced what is to be included in Vault 2.0 today. Some pretty interesting and useful stuff in there.

    One of my favorites is the inclusion of lightweight tags for those of us who label like madmen and don’t need the full power of the previous version’s label solution. Vault 1.x labels are actually “pinned branches”. It is a very cool concept (unpin a label and, poof, you have a full-fledged branch) but it was often overkill. So now we have the lightweight tag called a “Label” and a pinned-branch called a “Snapshot” (and the standard “Branch” of course).

    Eric and his crew just keep reinforcing my decision to buy their product. All things considered, they have the best product on the market right now.

    Here is a more complete list of the changes:

    • SourceGear DiffMerge: New diff and merge applications replaces the diff and merge windows which were previously built-in to Vault.
    • Show Differences allows several choices of how to compare the working file:
    • To its corresponding repository file
    • To a labeled version of the file
    • To another file on the local disk
    • To another repository file
    • External merge app: Users who want to configure a different application for external merge can now do so.
    • Repository level security: Allows a repository to be completely hidden from a user or group of users.
    • Web client: Allows basic browsing of the contents and history of a repository using any web browser.
    • Needs Merge: Files in a Needs Merge status are more obvious.  They are shown in red in the pending changeset.  At checkin time, a warning dialog reminds the user of the need to resolve the merge.
    • Obliterate: Much, much faster.  (This improvement will also be released in version 1.2.3)
    • Shadow folders: Automatically maintain a synchronized copy of the contents of a repository folder.
    • Lightweight labels: SourceSafe-style labels (aka "tags"):
    • Very lightweight
    • Supported by the VSS Import Tool
    • Includes VSS-style "label promotion" feature
    • Snapshots: Vault 1.x labels are still supported, and are now known as "snapshots".
    • Login Profiles: Login faster by saving commonly used username/password information in profiles.
    • Prompt for overwrite: During a Get Latest Version, specify that you want to be prompted before overwriting any edited file.
    • Unknown files: By default, don't overwrite files with Unknown status.
    • Proxy authentication: Support authentication for proxy servers which require it.
    • Copy from pending changeset: The pending changeset panel allows copying the list of change items to the clipboard.
    • Ctrl-A: For consistency with other Windows applications, Ctrl-A now maps to Select All.
    • Non-Windows platforms: Using Mono, run the Vault command-line client under various Unix-ish platforms, including Linux, Solaris, and MacOS X.
    • Command-line client: Lots of improvements to the Vault command-line client, including wildcards.
    • Merge Branches Wizard: A new Merge Branches feature replaces the Merge Branch into Trunk feature.
    • Merge changes between branch and trunk in either direction.
    • Merge changes from any folder to any other repository folder, even if neither is a branch of the other.
    • Specify exactly which changes you want to merge from the origin folder to the target.
    • Option to automatically merge individual files or leave them in Needs Merge status for manual examination using the SourceGear DiffMerge app.
    • Failed login: Better error message avoids password-guessing attack.
    • Failed connection to SQL Server: Better error message helps with resolution of common configuration problem.
    • Checkin dialog: When invoked from a context menu on a folder, the checkin dialog only lists the pending items which appear under that folder.
  • Keyboards

    I am on a “great quest” to find a keyboard that, to put it bluntly, does not suck. It started out as a tiny “errand“, turned into a “hunt“, and then escalated all the way up to “great quest“ in a matter of days. And if I do not find a answer soon, I fear I may have to jump right past “epic quest” status and head straight to “ludicrous obsession”.

    Every keyboard I have tried in some 6 odd stores has been some variation of the “mushy key” keyboards. I personal feel that such keyboards hold all of the elegance of typing on a napkin and are all so sensitive that you end up fat-fingering every other letter.

    In my quest I have had several recommendations for KeyTronic keyboards. They are nice, but I'm not a fan of the L-Enter style keyboard and the only black, non-L-Enter, keyboards they have come in funky ergonomic shapes. And I'm not sure I would find that a comfortable fit.

    The other recommendation was for Unicomp keyboards. These guys actually make the old buckling-spring keyboards they IBM and Lexmark made famous. This looked the most promising, but they don't seem to offer a keyboard in black that also includes the Windows keys (unless I go with the integrated mouse combo).  Too bad too because I really love this style of keyboard.

    Given they I type for a living, my keyboard matters a lot to me. Most people think its overkill, but I imagine I would find Tiger Woods overly picky about his golf clubs.

    So what is your keyboard of choice? And more importantly, where can I get one. ;-)

  • New MSDN DVD Design

    I just received my latest MSDN installment and found, to much delight, that they have finally redesigned the DVD set so that each DVDs content and color has actual meaning. And even more important, the yellow disks now use black text rather than white (the white on yellow was flat out illegible).

    My compliments to the MSDN crew; fantastic job guys.

  • Blogging Blues

    I've been looking for a good rich client to post to my blog with (I just don't like editing in a web page). Unfortunately I can't seem to find a workable client out there.

    NewsGator works, but only occasionally. For example, this post was first attempted from NewsGator but it never got here. This happens a good 9 out of 10 times. It is one heck of a reader, but the posting has a way to go.

    w.Bloggar looks promising. But I just cannot get it to work. When I point it at it just returns an XML parsing error. I know other have made it work before, but it sure seems broken now.

    Any ideas out there?

    UPDATE: It seems my issues are related to a bug in .Text rather than the client software.

  • Out From The Dust

    I've learned something this month. Ok, I learned a few things:

    1. Life without an internet connection is just too much to take.

    2. Life with a dial-up internet connection is inexplicably more horrible that #1.

    3. The world needs better keyboard. I'll elaborate on this one in another posting soon. But I would guess you know exactly what I'm talking about.

    4. Video drivers don't work, ever, period. And even if they do, they will be broken by morning.

  • Drivers Drive Me Dizzy

    Why is it that every piece of hardware I buy these days comes with drivers that simply do not work? It seems that no matter how new the product is, the drivers it ships with will be useless and I'll be forced to go hunt down updated versions. As a developer I know that bugs happen, but this is getting ridiculous.

    Today it was a new LinkSys router and 3 LinkSys NICs. These are all brand new products (they are from the new 802.11G product line) but before I could use them I had to download new drivers for the NICs and flash the router's BIOS.

    Normally this isn't too much of a problem, I just download the drivers and move on. But this just happen to be in the new office that currently has no internet connection (see previous rant). So I ended up having to drive home and download the drivers.

    For what it is worth, I'm very happy with the products now that they are working. But the amount of work it took to get them working was a bit frustrating.